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Westlake Legal Group > fnc/world (Page 97)

Sri Lanka’s leader calls for officials’ firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad

Westlake Legal Group sri-lankas-leader-calls-for-officials-firings-as-easter-suicide-bombers-revealed-to-be-well-educated-people-who-studied-abroad Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article

Sri Lanka’s president has called for the resignations of the country’s defense secretary and national police chief Wednesday after officials admitted to suffering a “major lapse” in communications in the lead-up to the Easter Sunday bombings, which have left more than 350 people dead.

The announcement comes as officials also revealed that the nine suicide bombers responsible for the attacks were “quite well-educated people” who are believed to have studied abroad and obtained degrees in places like the U.K. and Australia before returning to their homeland. Two of those bombers, they added, were a husband and wife duo.

“It was a major lapse in the sharing of information,” deputy defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene told reporters Wednesday, according to AFP, just minutes before news broke that his boss may be on the way out. “The government has to take responsibility.”

It wasn’t immediately clear who would replace the two key officials, but President Maithripala Sirisena said during a televised speech Tuesday that he planned to change the head of the defense forces within 24 hours.

CLERIC ‘MASTERMIND’ BEHIND SRI LANKA ATTACKS KNOWN FOR HATE-FILLED SERMONS, POSSIBLE ISIS LINKS

Westlake Legal Group 9c364847-sri-lanka-funeral Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article

A priest conducts religious rituals during a mass burial for Easter Sunday bomb blast victims in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. (AP)

The looming shakeup in Sri Lanka’s leadership follows widespread criticism directed at its government for failing to act on warnings it received about the bombers in the days leading up to the attacks. The official death toll on Wednesday rose to 359 and ISIS – through propaganda videos and statements — has claimed responsibility for the bombings, despite not providing any evidence of their connection.

“We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the U.K. and later did his postgraduate in Australia before coming back and settling in Sri Lanka,” the Guardian quoted Wijewardene as saying Wednesday.

“This group of suicide bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially, that is a worrying factor in this,” he added. “Some of them have I think studied in various other countries, they hold degrees, LLMs [law degrees], they’re quite well-educated people.”

Investigators also told the AFP that two of the bombers were sons of a wealthy spice trader in Colombo – Sri Lanka’s capital and site of many of the attacks. Two others, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara, were a husband and wife duo.

That woman, two children and three policemen are said to have died in an explosion as authorities closed in on her late Sunday, hours after attacks were launched against three churches and three hotels.

Westlake Legal Group sri-lanka-church-interior Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article

A view of St. Sebastian’s Church damaged in suicide blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP)

OCASIO-CORTEZ CALLED OUT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SILENCE IN WAKE OF SRI LANKA ATTACKS

Gunasekara said 60 people have been arrested so far, while U.S. Ambassador Alaina Teplitz confirmed that a team of FBI agents and U.S. military officials are helping in the investigation.

Teplitz told reporters Wednesday that “clearly there was some failure in the system,” but said the U.S. had no prior knowledge of a threat before the attacks, the worst violence in the South Asian island nation since its civil war ended a decade ago. She described the breakdown in communication amongst Sri Lankan officials as “incredibly tragic.”

Sources close to the investigation told The Guardian that up to nine people linked to the bombings could still be at large. Among those arrested so far are six Pakistani refugees, including two women and two children. A police official says security footage and telephone records indicated that the refugees may have been in contact with one of the alleged church bombers, it added.

Westlake Legal Group Zahran-Hashim-YT Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article

Over the past three years, radical Islamic cleric Zahran Hashim, alternately known as Mohammed Zahran, amassed an online following of thousands for hate-filled online sermons – sometimes delivered before a banner depicting the enkindled Twin Towers – and composed of impassioned calls for “all non-Muslims be eliminated.”  (YouTube)

Sri Lankan authorities had earlier blamed a local extremist group, National Towheed Jamaar, whose leader, alternately named Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, became known to Muslim leaders three years ago for his incendiary online speeches. On Wednesday, Wijewardene said the attackers had broken away from National Towheed Jamaar and another group, which he identified only as “JMI.”

Teplitz declined to discuss whether U.S. officials knew about National Towheed Jamaar or its leader before the attack. “If we had heard something, we would have tried to do something about this,” Teplitz said.

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Wijewardene also edged away from comments he made Tuesday that the bombings were retaliation for the March 15 mosque shootings by a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 people. He told reporters Wednesday that the mosque attack may have been a motivation for the bombings, but that there was no direct evidence of that.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday she hasn’t received any official advice from Sri Lanka or seen any intelligence reports to corroborate the claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 9c364847-sri-lanka-funeral Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article   Westlake Legal Group 9c364847-sri-lanka-funeral Sri Lanka's leader calls for officials' firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc e0835dd1-cd9e-51c2-aa03-9b9732cbbeca article

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Duterte threatens to dump garbage back to Canada, embassy

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Duterte threatens to dump garbage back to Canada, embassy Manila (Philippines) fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 4779e8a4-c700-5e0e-ad97-cc523933b6f5

The Philippine president has threatened to ship truckloads of garbage back to Canada and dump some of it at Canada’s embassy in Manila if Canadian officials don’t take back the waste that Filipino officials say was illegally transported to the country years ago.

President Rodrigo Duterte said late Tuesday: “I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and dump their garbage there.”

More than 100 containers of household trash, including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and used adult diapers, were shipped in batches from Canada to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014. Officials say the shipments of waste were misdeclared by a private firm as recyclable plastic scraps.

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Specialist says Notre Dame organ unharmed by fire

Westlake Legal Group specialist-says-notre-dame-organ-unharmed-by-fire Specialist says Notre Dame organ unharmed by fire Paris fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc b684742f-05a9-5318-b322-8237852791c2 Associated Press article

Notre Dame cathedral’s 8,000-pipe organ has escaped undamaged from the flames that engulfed the building last week.

Pascal Quoirin, a specialist who restored the Notre Dame organ in 2017, has checked the instrument and says it did not suffer any damage in the blaze that destroyed most of the roof.

Quoirin said “after two hours spent examining the instrumental part, I did not notice any damage that could have been caused by the fire.”

According to Quoirin, the thermometer inside the organ showed that the temperature did not rise above 17 degrees Celsius (63 Fahrenheit) on the day of the fire, ensuring no damage to the electronic components or pipes.

Quoirin recommends protecting the instrument with a waterproof case, to dusting it and playing it regularly during the restoration work.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-968b467fb42a4077866274c431f563ec Specialist says Notre Dame organ unharmed by fire Paris fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc b684742f-05a9-5318-b322-8237852791c2 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-968b467fb42a4077866274c431f563ec Specialist says Notre Dame organ unharmed by fire Paris fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc b684742f-05a9-5318-b322-8237852791c2 Associated Press article

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Cyprus murders: Police search mineshaft for missing girl

Westlake Legal Group cyprus-murders-police-search-mineshaft-for-missing-girl Cyprus murders: Police search mineshaft for missing girl NICOSIA, Cyprus fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 07548b28-f34e-5283-8f1d-a188b197c6fa
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-1919c5ced9dd4477a7d418e7cad97128 Cyprus murders: Police search mineshaft for missing girl NICOSIA, Cyprus fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 07548b28-f34e-5283-8f1d-a188b197c6fa

Cypriot authorities say they are using a remote-controlled camera to search a flooded mineshaft where the bodies of two murdered women were found this month.

Police are seeking the missing 6-year-old daughter of one of the victims, a 38-year-old Filipino woman. An army officer is in custody facing charges of premeditated murder and kidnapping, and investigators have not ruled out that there may be more possible victims.

Fire Service Chief Marcos Trangolas said Wednesday that so far there have been no new finds from the investigation of the abandoned mineshaft near Mitsero, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Nicosia.

He said authorities hoped to have a picture of the mineshaft’s contents by late Wednesday.

Authorities seeking the missing girl are also investigating a flooded open-pit mine near Mitsero.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-1919c5ced9dd4477a7d418e7cad97128 Cyprus murders: Police search mineshaft for missing girl NICOSIA, Cyprus fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 07548b28-f34e-5283-8f1d-a188b197c6fa   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-1919c5ced9dd4477a7d418e7cad97128 Cyprus murders: Police search mineshaft for missing girl NICOSIA, Cyprus fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 07548b28-f34e-5283-8f1d-a188b197c6fa

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Egypt: Archaeologists uncover ancient tomb with mummies

Westlake Legal Group egypt-archaeologists-uncover-ancient-tomb-with-mummies Egypt: Archaeologists uncover ancient tomb with mummies fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world fnc/world fnc db96fcb0-95ee-50a7-af8d-8c75619fd3f5 CAIRO Associated Press article
Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Egypt: Archaeologists uncover ancient tomb with mummies fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world fnc/world fnc db96fcb0-95ee-50a7-af8d-8c75619fd3f5 CAIRO Associated Press article

Egypt says archaeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb with mummies believed to date back about 2,000 years in the southern city of Aswan.

The Antiquities Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the tomb is from the Greco-Roman period, which began with Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

It is located near one of Aswan’s landmarks, the Mausoleum of Aga Khan, who lobbied for Muslim rights in India and who was buried there after his death in 1957.

The statement said archaeologists found artifacts, including decorated masks, statuettes, vases, coffin fragments and cartonnages — chunks of linen or papyrus glued together.

Egypt often announces new discoveries, hoping to spur the country’s tourism sector, which has suffered major setbacks during the turmoil following the 2011 uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian port city ahead of first meeting with Putin

Westlake Legal Group north-korean-leader-kim-jong-un-arrives-in-russian-port-city-ahead-of-first-meeting-with-putin North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian port city ahead of first meeting with Putin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 6c5b3b24-609b-5d66-a1bb-e8a3655a2c04

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived by an armored train in Russia on Wednesday ahead of a highly-anticipated summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and amid deadlocked negotiations with the U.S. over the North’s nuclear program.

In his first visit to Russia as North Korea’s leader, Kim met with Russian officials at the country’s Khasan train station Wednesday morning before traveling north to the Pacific port of Vladivostock, where he will be with President Putin on Thursday.

Speaking to Russia’s state-owned Rossiya-24, Kim said on arrival that he is hoping for a “successful and useful” visit and would like to discuss with Putin “settlement of the situation in the Korean Peninsula” as well as bilateral ties with Russia.

Westlake Legal Group 60107758-1024-preview-3 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian port city ahead of first meeting with Putin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 6c5b3b24-609b-5d66-a1bb-e8a3655a2c04

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center,t, is welcomed by girls clad in traditional Russian clothes upon arrival at Khasan train station in Primorye region, Russia, Wednesday, April 24, 2019.  (Primorsky Regional Administration Press Service via AP)

“I have heard a lot about your country and have long dreamt of visiting it,” Kim was quoted as saying. “It’s been seven years since I took the helm, and I’ve only just managed to visit.”

NORTH KOREA DEMANDS US TO SIDELINE POMPEO FROM NUCLEAR TALKS: REPORT

Kim arrived in Vladivostok early evening where he was greeted by a military orchestra before he got into his personal limousine that traveled with him, and drove away. After his summit with Putin on Thursday, Kim may tour neighboring facilities or landmarks before departing for home on Friday, according to South Korean media.

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Kim’s meeting with President Trump in Hanoi earlier this year reached a stalemate because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions. There have since been no publicly known high-level contacts between the U.S. and North Korea, though both sides say they are still open to a third summit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group c63d0d7a-1024-preview-2 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian port city ahead of first meeting with Putin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 6c5b3b24-609b-5d66-a1bb-e8a3655a2c04   Westlake Legal Group c63d0d7a-1024-preview-2 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian port city ahead of first meeting with Putin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 6c5b3b24-609b-5d66-a1bb-e8a3655a2c04

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Syrian media: Bomb placed in car kills civilian in Damascus

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Syrian media: Bomb placed in car kills civilian in Damascus fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Damascus (Syria) Associated Press article 86d93b38-a2cd-554d-80c8-f26c6dc2985b

Syrian state-run media say a bomb has killed a civilian and wounded five other people in a Damascus neighborhood.

The official SANA news agency says the bomb had been placed in a car in the Nahr Aysheh district in southern Damascus and killed the driver when it detonated. The agency says an investigation is underway.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Bombings in the Syrian capital have been relatively rare in the past few years, particularly since President Bashar Assad’s government last year secured areas around Damascus that had been held for years by rebels.

The country’s civil war is now in its ninth year. The conflict has killed more than 450,000 people and displaced millions of others.

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The Latest: North Korea’s Kim arrives in Vladivostok

Westlake Legal Group the-latest-north-koreas-kim-arrives-in-vladivostok The Latest: North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok VLADIVOSTOK, Russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc b3e150b9-227f-5344-9357-fced983352a1 Associated Press article
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-261084adb8fa4077b5960e7f7604a323-1 The Latest: North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok VLADIVOSTOK, Russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc b3e150b9-227f-5344-9357-fced983352a1 Associated Press article

The Latest on the summit between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia’s Vladivostok for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kim arrived on his armored train, which pulled into the station in the Pacific port of Vladivostok Wednesday evening. He was greeted by a military orchestra before he got into his personal limousine that traveled with him, and drove away.

Kim’s Russia trip comes about two months after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.

___

9:55 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for his summit with President Vladimir Putin in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

Russian news agency Tass quoted a local official as saying Kim was given flowers, bread and salt at the Hasan train station after crossing the border.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told Russian media Tuesday that the summit Thursday will focus on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim’s Russia trip comes about two months after his second summit with President Donald Trump failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim was seen off by officials and residents as he left Pyongyang by his special train at dawn Wednesday.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-261084adb8fa4077b5960e7f7604a323-1 The Latest: North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok VLADIVOSTOK, Russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc b3e150b9-227f-5344-9357-fced983352a1 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-261084adb8fa4077b5960e7f7604a323-1 The Latest: North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok VLADIVOSTOK, Russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc b3e150b9-227f-5344-9357-fced983352a1 Associated Press article

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Key moments in Kim Jong Un’s diplomatic charm offensive

Westlake Legal Group key-moments-in-kim-jong-uns-diplomatic-charm-offensive Key moments in Kim Jong Un's diplomatic charm offensive KIM TONG-HYUNG fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc dbbe8a18-4a64-5313-b447-47df4d0eccb3 Associated Press article

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week expands a diplomatic charm offensive that has included meetings with leaders from China, South Korea and the United States. Some key moments:

Jan. 1, 2018: In his New Year’s address, Kim calls for improved relations with South Korea and offers to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics there.

February 2018: North Korea sends hundreds of people to Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, including Kim’s sister, who conveys her brother’s desire for a summit with President Moon Jae-in.

March 7, 2018: After visiting Kim in Pyongyang, South Korean presidential envoy Chung Eui-yong says Kim is willing to discuss the fate of his nuclear arsenal with the United States. Days later, President Donald Trump accepts Kim’s invitation to meet following a conversation with Moon’s envoys.

March 27, 2018: Kim makes a surprise visit to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in an apparent move to strengthen his leverage ahead of his negotiations with Trump.

April 21, 2018: North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and announces plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a move to shift its national focus and improve its economy. Trump tweets: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!”

April 27, 2018: Kim holds a summit with Moon. The leaders announce vague aspirational goals of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.

May 7, 2018: Kim meets Xi again in China and calls for stronger strategic cooperation between the traditional allies.

May 9, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang to prepare for the planned Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who had been imprisoned, and they return with Pompeo to the United States.

May 24, 2018: North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui releases a statement referring to Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” for his critical comments on the North and saying it was up to the Americans whether they would “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.” Trump announces he’s pulling out of his summit with Kim, citing the North’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

May 26, 2018: Kim and Moon meet at a border village in an effort to revive the summit with Trump. Moon says Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearize but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.

June 1, 2018: After meeting North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol at the White House, Trump says his meeting with Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12.

June 12, 2018: Trump and Kim meet in Singapore, where they repeat the first inter-Korean summit’s vague statement on the peninsula’s denuclearization without describing when and how it will occur.

June 19, 2018: Kim visits Beijing for his third meeting with Xi, who praises the “positive outcome” of the Trump-Kim meeting.

Aug. 24, 2018: Trump cancels a scheduled trip to North Korea by Pompeo citing lack of “sufficient progress” on denuclearization.

Sept. 19, 2018: Kim and Moon hold their third summit in Pyongyang and the North says it’s willing to permanently dismantle its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures. The Koreas also vow to resume joint economic activities when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end and allow such projects.

Jan. 1, 2019: Kim in his New Year’s speech says he hopes to continue his nuclear summitry with Trump, but also that he would seek a “new way” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against the North.

Jan. 8, 2019: Kim visits Beijing for his fourth summit with Xi, vows to “achieve results” on the nuclear standoff in his next summit with Trump.

Feb. 8, 2019: Trump announces the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, as the venue of his second summit with Kim.

Feb. 27-28, 2019: Trump and Kim’s second summit breaks down over what the Americans describe as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for partial disarmament steps limited to the Yongbyon complex.

April 13, 2019: Kim says he is open to a third summit with Trump, but sets the year’s end as a deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement.

April 23, 2019: North Korea says Kim will soon visit Russia to meet with Putin.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-22673626183f4cb1a9b38f28dc5e9ee5 Key moments in Kim Jong Un's diplomatic charm offensive KIM TONG-HYUNG fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc dbbe8a18-4a64-5313-b447-47df4d0eccb3 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-22673626183f4cb1a9b38f28dc5e9ee5 Key moments in Kim Jong Un's diplomatic charm offensive KIM TONG-HYUNG fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc dbbe8a18-4a64-5313-b447-47df4d0eccb3 Associated Press article

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Thousands of Iraqi families bear the burden of IS legacy

Westlake Legal Group thousands-of-iraqi-families-bear-the-burden-of-is-legacy Thousands of Iraqi families bear the burden of IS legacy PHILIP ISSA and SALAR SALIM fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fnc/world fnc c2e0e6d7-3ab9-5560-b299-ba10ab1e4f47 Associated Press article
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-900511aebd9c4dccbe74f4d300ef9db7-1 Thousands of Iraqi families bear the burden of IS legacy PHILIP ISSA and SALAR SALIM fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fnc/world fnc c2e0e6d7-3ab9-5560-b299-ba10ab1e4f47 Associated Press article

When Ahmed Khalil ran out of work as a van driver in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago, he signed up with the Islamic State group’s police force, believing the salary would help keep his struggling family afloat.

But what he wound up providing was a legacy that would outlast his job, and his life.

In Mosul and elsewhere across Iraq, thousands of families — including Khalil’s widow and children — face crushing discrimination because their male relatives were seen as affiliated with or supporting IS when the extremists held large swaths of the country.

The wives, widows and children have been disowned by their relatives and abandoned by the state. Registrars refuse to register births to women with suspected IS husbands, and schools will not enroll their children. Mothers are turned away from welfare, and mukhtars — community mayors — won’t let the families move into their neighborhoods.

The Islamic State group’s “caliphate” that once spanned a third of both Iraq and Syria is now gone but as Iraq struggles to rebuilt after the militants’ final defeat and loss of their last sliver of territory in Syria earlier this year, the atrocities and the devastation they wreaked has left deep scars.

“They say my father was Daesh,” said Safa Ahmed, Khalil’s 11-year old daughter, referring to IS by its Arabic name. “It hurts me.”

Iraq has done little to probe the actions of the tens of thousands of men such as Khalil who, willingly or by force joined, worked and possibly fought for IS during its 2013-2017 rule. Instead, bureaucrats and communities punish families for the deeds of their relatives in a time of war.

Khalil was killed in an airstrike in Mosul, in February 2017, during the U.S.-backed campaign to retake the city that IS seized in 2014. It was liberated in July 2017, at a tremendous cost — around 10,000 residents were believed to have been killed in the assault, and its historic districts now lie in ruins.

His widow, Um Yusuf, and their seven children were left to bear the stigma of his IS affiliation. She cannot get social assistance, and her teenage son Omar is being turned away from jobs.

They live in an abandoned schoolhouse, living on what they can make selling bread on the streets of the devastated city. Just three of the children are in school — the oldest two dropped out because of bullying about their father, and the youngest two cannot enroll because the civil registrar’s office won’t issue their IDs.

“It’s true their father made a mistake,” Um Yusuf said. “But why are these children being punished for his sin?”

Under Iraq’s patrimonial family laws, a child needs a named father to receive a birth certificate and an identity card, to enroll in school and to claim citizenship, welfare benefits and an inheritance.

But in post-IS Iraq, virtually every bureaucratic procedure now includes a security check on a woman’s male relatives, further frustrating mothers and children.

A U.N. report this year estimates there are 45,000 undocumented children in Iraq. Judges and human rights groups say an urgent resolution is needed or the country risks rearing a generation of children without papers or schooling.

“By punishing entire families, you marginalize them and you seriously undermine reconciliation efforts in Iraq,” said Tom Peyre-Costa, a spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council, which provides legal aid to Mosul mothers struggling to get their children ID papers.

At al-Iraqiya school in western Mosul, one of the city’s first to reopen in 2017, principal Khalid Mohammad said he faces pressure from the community to deny enrollment to children whose fathers are in jail or missing — an absence many interpret as proof of IS affiliation.

“If anyone complains and someone is sent to investigate, I could lose my job,” he said.

At a legal office and clinic supported by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Nour Ahmed was looking for a way to claim legal custody of her undocumented younger son, in order to collect food and fuel aid for the family.

Her husband, she said, was abducted two years ago in Mosul by a group of pro-government militiamen who likely thought he was an IS member. Ahmed insists he wasn’t. He has been missing to this day.

Born in 2016 at a hospital run by IS, their son was given a birth certificate notarized by the Islamic State group. As Iraq doesn’t recognize IS documents, the 3-year-old has no legal mother or father.

Ahmed was told she would need to find her husband to re-register her son’s birth. If she submitted a missing person’s report, it would raise questions about the child’s parentage, jeopardizing his right to citizenship.

“I just want to find him,” said Nour.

Adnan Chalabi, an appeals court judge, said he sees more than a dozen cases each day related to civilian documentation, brought largely by the wives, widows or divorcees of IS suspects. There is little he can do to help, he said, without a change to the law first.

“Daesh held the city for three years. Did people stop getting married, divorced, and having children during those three years?” he said. “We need a legislative solution.”

There is little appetite to change the country’s family and patrimony laws, said Iraq’s parliament speaker, Mohamad Halbousi, though there is a proposal to open civil registries for a limited period, to register undocumented children.

“These families need to be cared for. They cannot be left to melt away into society,” he said.

Outside a mosque in Mosul, where Um Yusuf was selling bread with her children, the widowed mother of seven said she was losing the strength to look after her family.

“We are deprived of everything,” she says. “The whole family is destroyed.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-900511aebd9c4dccbe74f4d300ef9db7-1 Thousands of Iraqi families bear the burden of IS legacy PHILIP ISSA and SALAR SALIM fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fnc/world fnc c2e0e6d7-3ab9-5560-b299-ba10ab1e4f47 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-900511aebd9c4dccbe74f4d300ef9db7-1 Thousands of Iraqi families bear the burden of IS legacy PHILIP ISSA and SALAR SALIM fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fnc/world fnc c2e0e6d7-3ab9-5560-b299-ba10ab1e4f47 Associated Press article

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